QUESTION Just wanted to check if it is all right to say 'forayed'. For example,'A project the organisation forayed into fearlessly.'Is forayed a word at all? Does it have negative connotations? Thank you SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word foray does, indeed, have a verb form, and you could say, for instance, that an enemy forayed into hostile territory. It is probably more often used as a noun, however, as when people are described as "making a foray into ____ territory." It does seem to have a negative connotation (it is redolent of unplanned and riotous occasion), and I don't think the rather convoluted usage in your sentence works very well.
QUESTION I'm stuck on some sentence construction. What is the proper way to write these following sentences? 1. Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Green, our sales representatives in Chicago, stated they will retire in October.
Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Green, our sales representatives in Chicago, stated they will be retiring in October.
3. A letter of application should be brief, uncluttered and relevant, and it should be only on one page.
4. A letter of application should be brief, uncluttered, and relevant, and it should be on only one page.(I'm not sure if the commas are in the correct places I don't think a semi-colon goes after relevant also, I'm not sure of the 'only on', 'on only' correct usage.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Racine, Wisconsin Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't see anything wrong with "stated they will retire in October," although the other sounds a bit more formal. Between 3 and 4, there are problems in parallel form. I would use the serial comma after "uncluttered," and I would try to put the three ideas into the same construction (combining the idea of brevity with the notion of its being on one page: "A letter of application should be brief (one page), uncluttered, and relevant."
QUESTION I have just discovered your web site, and find it very interesting. I am sure it will be a useful tool. I wonder whether it is correct to use the wording "as to whether." An example might be the following sentence:"I would like to inquire as to whether the split infinitive is a mistake to invariably avoid."Thank you for your time. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE West Chester, Pennsylvania Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE There is nothing really wrong with "as to whether," but it can often be dispensed with, as in"I would like to ask whether the split infinitive is a mistake to invariably avoid."And whether we should try to invariably or even variably avoid the split infinitive, I'll leave up to you.
QUESTION When there are double adjectives describing a noun, should I hyphenate the double adjectives? See below:Some of Kathleen's interesting features are her sky-blue eyes, a cute button nose, and crystal white skin during the winter. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Decatur, Georgia Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Your best guide on such issues is the dictionary. "Sky blue" is not hyphenated in Merriam-Webster's, and there's no reason to hyphenate "cute button nose." I don't know what "crystal white skin" looks like, but Kathleen should see a dermatologist, soon.
I was wrong about this. "Sky-blue" (hyphenated) is, indeed, in the dictionary, and it would be used that way as a modifier, as in "sky-blue eyes." "Sky blue" (not hyphenated) is a noun, a color. We thank Prudy Frederick for this correction.
QUESTION How can i explain to my students when to use 'if' or 'whether' for example, when they are interchangeable and when they are not. Is there a specific rule that governs the usage?
Thanks so much for your help and your brilliant site!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Germany Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to the New York Public Library's Writer's Guide to Style and Usage, "if" and "whether" are "interchangeable as long as the meaning is clear and the construction is sensible." I don't find that particularly helpful, myself, but that guide then goes on to say that either "if" or "whether" can be used after such verbs as ask, doubt, hear, and know: "Did you ask if/whether we had to be present to win?" and that "whether" is considered the more formal of the two. "Whether" is preferred at the beginning of a sentence to introduce a noun clause: "Whether he had a chance to win the election was a subject of considerable debate."
Authority: New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage HarperCollins: New York. 1994. Cited with permission. p. 72.
QUESTION Is there such a word as "incent", e.g., "He used his experience to incent his employees to move more aggressively."
How about "incentivize"? Example: He incentivized them to move more aggressively.
Is this current trend to add "ize" to a noun to make it a verb accepted as part of the changing grammar standards?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Thu, Dec 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I haven't heard that one yet, and it's not in my Merriam-Webster's, which is generally quite liberal in this regard. I would incentivize you to use "encourage," instead. The addition of -ize to create a verb from a noun is one way in which language changes. Whether it's accepted or not is a matter of time and, well, usage. The word prioritize, we're told, did not even exist before 1964, and where would we be without it?
QUESTION Which sentence is correct.
Thank you for your help!
- The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's staff, with the assistance of Ms. Tiegs, has completed the assessment.
- The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California staff, with the assistance of Ms. Tiegs, has completed the assessment.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Thu, Dec 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If I really had to choose, I'd use the second one, but can we rewrite it to avoid the problem?With the assistance of Ms. Tiegs, the staff of the Metropolitan . . . staff has completed the assessment.
QUESTION Which of these sentences is more correct:
Should the word "it" be used?
- I would appreciate it if you would...... or,
- I would appreciate if you would.....
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Rancho Cucamonga, California Thu, Dec 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The verb "appreciate" does seem to demand an object, something to be appreciated, doesn't it? The problem with "I would appreciate if you would. . . ." is that "if" clauses don't make very good noun clauses; they aren't good things to be appreciated. We could say "I would appreciate your cleaning out these eaves" (in which the gerund form becomes the noun phrase appreciated) or "I would appreciate it if you would clean out these eaves." We have to give appreciate its it.
QUESTION Is this proper English:"I stand testament to that fact." SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Baltimore, Maryland Thu, Dec 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's a peculiar bit of phrasing, isn't it, and I suspect it's a bit archaic, but if you do a search on Yahoo! for "stand testament," you'll find several dozen instances of its use (and in a wide variety of respectable places). I don't know if it's ever necessary to "stand testament" to a fact, though. It seems that something (as opposed to someone) usually "stands testament" to some notion that something is true. I suppose a search in the Oxford English Dictionary would reveal the origins of the phrase.
QUESTION I hope you can help me. If I refer to "team" as a subject in one sentence, what is the correct pronoun to use in a second sentence which follows it? Should I use "it" or "they"?Example: The team accomplished a major goal. It/they (??) performed data tranfers to the Eligibility team.I would appreciate your input. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Fri, Dec 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You'll run into the same question when you talk about a company. "Ford Motor Company is a fine corporation. They make good cars." When the team or the company is behaving in your sentence as a singular, corporate entity, use a singular verb and a singular pronoun to refer to it. When you think of the same team or a company in terms of the individuals or the people within it, use a plural pronoun to refer to it.
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